The 10 best music tech products of NAMM 2011

17th Jan 2011 | 14:45

The 10 best music tech products of NAMM 2011
Spectrasonics/ Bob Moog Foundation OMG-1
Mad but marvellous

NAMM 2011: If you’ve been following our coverage of the 2011 Winter NAMM Show you’ll know that it’s been awash with new hi-tech music making gear. Which is great, obviously, but the sheer volume of releases might have caused you to miss one or two of the big highlights.

Fortunately, we’re here to round up the products that, in MusicRadar’s opinion (and in no particular order), shone brightest in Anaheim last week, starting with the remarkable OMG-1.

Ironically, one of the most-talked-about products at NAMM 2011 was an instrument that you’ll never be able to buy. The OMG-1 is a collaborative effort from Spectrasonics’ Eric Persing and The Bob Moog Foundation and comprises a Moog Little Phatty analogue synthesizer, two iPod touches, two Apple iPads, an Akai LPK 25, an Apple Mac mini, Spectrasonics Omnisphere and the brand new Spectrasonics TR app (an Omnisphere touch control app).

The good news? The OMG-1 will be the grand prize in a must-enter competition that The Bob Moog Foundation is running from 15 March.

WATCH: Spectrasonics and Bob Moog Foundation OMG-1 in action

The 10 best music tech products of NAMM 2011
Steinberg Cubase 6
The ultimate cross-platform DAW

New DAWs tend not to be launched at trade shows any more, so we got a little bit nostalgic when we learned that Steinberg was bringing Cubase 6 to the NAMM 2011 party.

It’s a pretty sizeable hunk of update, adding such things as VST Expression 2, phase-accurate multitrack drum editing and a revised effects and instruments line-up.

WATCH: Steinberg Cubase 6 revealed

The 10 best music tech products of NAMM 2011
Korg Kronos
One workstation to rule them all?

It would be easy to dismiss the Kronos as just another workstation, but you have to admire a keyboard that contains nine distinct synthesis engines, all of which can function together.

Korg also brought (among other things) the Kaoss Pad Quad, nanoSeries2 controllers and the ultra-cute microPiano to the show, giving it an impressive roster of 2011 gear.

WATCH: Korg Kronos Workstation demo

The 10 best music tech products of NAMM 2011
Dave Smith and Roger Linn Tempest
Whipping up a rhythmic storm

A collaboration between these two hi-tech music titans has been in the works for several years now, but we were starting to wonder whether it would ever actually come to anything.

We needn’t have worried, though: Tempest is very much the real deal, being a true analogue drum machine that sports a host of performance features. You’re almost certainly going to want this.

READ: Dave Smith and Roger Linn unleash Tempest analogue drum machine

The 10 best music tech products of NAMM 2011
Arturia Spark
The beat is on

Speaking of drum machines, here’s another one from Arturia, though it’s a hardware/software combo in the mould of Native Instruments’ Maschine that we’re dealing with here.

Virtual analogue synthesis, physical modelling and samples are used to generate sounds, and sequencing facilities are included, too.

READ: Arturia announces Spark drum machine

The 10 best music tech products of NAMM 2011
Akai SynthStation49
The iPad-hosting controller keyboard

Akai’s SynthStation25 is a tidy little solution for anyone who wants to create a pint-sized iPhone/iPod touch-based studio setup, but with its full-size keys and numerous control options, the SynthStation49 is a serious proposition for anyone who wants to create a self-contained iPad performance or recording rig.

An honourable mention should also go to StudioDock from Akai’s sister company Alesis, which gives the iPad proper audio and MIDI/IO connectivity.

READ: Akai SynthStation49 iPad MIDI controller unveiled

The 10 best music tech products of NAMM 2011
Avid M-Audio Venom
A hardware synth with bite

M-Audio has been making controller keyboards for years, so sticking a virtual analogue synth engine into one of their cases is a logical step for the company to take.

Venom contains samples from classic synths so you’ll have instantly recognisable tones out of the box, but it also promises to offer plenty to the sound designer. Oh, and it’s got built-in audio/MIDI I/O and a software editor, too, making it extremely DAW friendly.

WATCH: M-Audio Venom synth demo

The 10 best music tech products of NAMM 2011
Fairlight CMI-30A
The return of a legend

Hardware and software designers are always taking inspiration from the past, but few do it quite so literally as Fairlight is with the CMI-30A. This 30th anniversary update of the original CMI sampling synth is as retro as you could want it to be, right down to the monochrome screen and light pen interface.

We wouldn’t spend 20 grand on it, but we’re sure someone will.

READ: New Fairlight CMI-30A goes back to the '80s

The 10 best music tech products of NAMM 2011
iZotope Stutter Edit
BT helps out with new playable effect

In all honesty, big new software releases at NAMM 2011 were rather thin on the ground, but iZotope had something noteworthy in the shape of Stutter Edit.

Created in collaboration with producer BT, this features a live sampling engine that enables you to edit audio in real-time. And because MIDI control is supported, the whole process promises to be totally intuitive.

READ: iZotope and BT Introduce Stutter Edit

The 10 best music tech products of NAMM 2011
Clavia Nord Stage 2
The gigging keyboard player's favourite

Clavia’s distinctive red Nord keyboards are to be found on stages around the world, so the arrival of the company’s second generation Stage line-up is certain to get gigging keyboard players interested.

With new piano, organ and synth sounds, the Stage 2 seems likely to sound even better than its predecessor while retaining the same level of easy hands-on tweakability.

READ: Nord unveils Stage 2


Liked this? Now read: The best music tech gear of 2010: synths, DAWs, plug-ins and more

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